This Friday, President Obama is going to Saudi Arabia. But despite the Saudi Arabian government’s terrible record on human rights, the White House hasn’t said that human rights will be on the agenda.
Over 50 Members of Congress beg to differ. A growing number of U.S. representatives have signed a bipartisan letter calling on President Obama to stand up for human rights when he meets with Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah.
Here are three ways you can take action to make sure President Obama makes human rights a priority when he visits Saudi Arabia:
1. Make sure your U.S. Representative signs the letter by 5 p.m. today – Tuesday, March 25th:
- Call the Congressional Switchboard: (202) 224-3121
- Ask for your U.S. Representative by name. You will be transferred.
- Introduce yourself and where you are calling from.
- Ask your Representative to sign the “Dear Colleague” letter by Representatives Franks, McGovern, Wolf, and Speier urging President Obama to stand up for human rights in Saudi Arabia when he visits the country this month.
- Tell your Member of Congress that the deadline to sign the letter is today – Tuesday, March 25th by 5 PM.
2. Email your Member of Congress here: http://bit.ly/SaudiFreedom
3. Spread the word by Tweeting. Sample Tweets:
- Women are banned from driving in #SaudiArabia, but will Obama say anything when he visits? Tell Congress to speak: http://bit.ly/1fHJEjZ
- Will your Member of Congress support women’s #humanrights in #SaudiArabia? Tell them to sign letter! http://bit.ly/1fHJEjZ
- Urge Congress to tell Obama to Stand Up for #HumanRights in #SaudiArabia! Act w/ @Amnesty http://bit.ly/1fHJEjZ
- Obama’s visit to Saudi must not be wasted Urge Congress to Stand Up for #HumanRights in Saudi Arabia! Act w/ @Amnestyhttp://bit.ly/1fHJEjZ
How does the Saudi Arabian government violate human rights?
- Saudi Arabia’s government is the only one in the world to ban women from driving.
- Women must have the permission of a male guardian before getting married, travelling, undergoing certain surgical interventions, working, or pursuing higher education.
- Torture and other ill-treatment during detention and interrogation is widespread.
- Human rights advocates have been imprisoned simply for their peaceful activism.
- Discrimination against racial and religious minorities is commonplace.
- Migrant workers, who comprise around a third of the population, are inadequately protected by labor laws and are vulnerable to exploitation and abuse by employers.
- Security forces within the country continue to impose arbitrary and incommunicado detention, unfair trials and travel bans on Saudi Arabian and foreign nationals.
We’re looking to change this. Join us and a growing number of Members of Congress in calling on President Obama to bring the issue of human rights to the forefront.
In particular, Members of Congress are calling on the President to:
- Seek a meeting with women activists in Saudi Arabia who are challenging the country’s ban on women drivers.
- Seek a meeting with family members of prominent peaceful human rights advocates who are imprisoned.
- Urge King Abdullah to make specific human rights reforms: religious freedom, lifting bans on freedom of association, ending torture, reforming laws that criminalize peaceful dissent, and stopping repression of women and religious minorities.
Sound reasonable? We think so. Contact your representative and ask them to sign this important letter free via Skype.